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Knox v. Scruggs

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 30, 2018

RAYMONE KNOX, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON SCRUGGS, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [#22] OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION [#23], GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [#15], DISMISSING DEFENDANTS SCRUGGS, BRADDOCK AND GARRETT IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DISMISSING OAKLAND COUNTY AND “UNKNOWN SUPERVISOR” IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brought the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging claims against Defendants Scruggs, Braddock, Garrett, and an “Unknown Supervisor” all in their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff also brings his claims against Oakland County and the City of Pontiac. This matter has been referred to Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis for all pretrial purposes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72.

         Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Davis's Report and Recommendation, issued on February 5, 2018. Magistrate Judge Davis recommends that the Court grant in part and deny in part the Oakland County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, filed on May 22, 2017. On February 13, 2018, Defendants filed their Objection to the Report and Recommendation. Plaintiff filed his Response to their Objection on February 26, 2018.

         Plaintiff has failed to file any Objections to the Report and Recommendation, and the time for doing so has expired. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 72.1(d) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).

         Upon review of the parties' submissions, the Report and Recommendation and the applicable law, the Court will overrule Defendants' Objection and will accept and adopt Magistrate Judge Davis's February 5, 2018 Report and Recommendation as this Court's factual findings and conclusions of law.

         II. LAW & ANALYSIS

         The events giving rise to the instant action occurred on May 8, 2016, during the course of Plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff claims that Sheriff Deputy Scruggs used excessive force during and after Plaintiff's arrest for domestic violence and assaulting/resisting/obstructing an officer. He further alleges that Sheriff's Deputies Braddock and Garrett failed to intervene and stop Scruggs unlawful conduct.

         As an initial matter, Magistrate Judge Davis correctly concluded that Heck v. Humphrey does not bar Plaintiff's claims. See Carter v. Carter, No. 14-13502, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46301, *8-9 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 29, 2017), rev'd on other grounds, Carter v. Carter, No. 17-1448, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6363 (6th Cir. Mar. 15, 2018); see also Schreiber v. Moe, 596 F.3d 323, 334 (6th Cir. 2010).

         Magistrate Jude Davis likewise correctly concluded that none of the Sheriff's Deputy Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.[1] Government officials are not entitled to qualified immunity when their conduct violates an individual's constitutional rights and the rights they have “transgressed” are “clearly established.” See Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551, 563 (2004). Defendants' sole objection to the Report and Recommendation is that Plaintiff's allegations do not amount to a viable failure to intervene claim, thus he has not alleged a violation of the Constitution and they are entitled to qualified immunity.

         Contrary to Defendants' argument, Magistrate Judge Davis thoroughly considered and appropriately rejected their assertion that Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to overcome the “plausibility” standard of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that all three Deputy Sheriff's entered the residence and that Scruggs deployed his Taser on Plaintiff's back, apparently causing Plaintiff to lose consciousness. When Plaintiff came to, he was “being kicked in the rib cage by” Scruggs. Defendants continued assertion that Plaintiff has alleged a single kick thereby depriving Braddock and Garrett an opportunity to intervene is simply their attempt to twist Plaintiff's allegations to their own advantage. As noted by Magistrate Judge Davis, to grant qualified immunity at this stage of the proceedings would be premature because it would require this Court to adopt Defendant's version of the events and reject Plaintiff's allegations. See Mills v. Barnard, 869 F.3d 473, 487 (6th Cir. 2017). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is inappropriate as found by Magistrate Judge Davis and the Court will overrule Defendants' objection.

         III. CONCLUSION

         For the reasons articulated above, the Court will ADOPT and ACCEPT Magistrate Judge Davis's February 5, 2018 Report and Recommendation [#22] as this ...


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